Monthly Archives

August 2016

My Life

In An Instant…

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One of the hardest things about living in the capital city of Australia is that African products that are readily available in other states are hard to find here. Think of things like mealie meal (Husbae can’t live without sadza), Cerelac (we say it’s for the baby, but it’s really for me), boerewors, hair extensions, hair oils and products – the list goes on and on.

Luckily for me, I have some awesome family and friends who are willing to do my monthly shop to ensure that I never have to go without.
…The story begins right now.
I was paid on Monday and I don’t know about you, but I like to log in and just look at my money- admiring it and thinking of ways to may it grow bigger and stronger. During the week our whole family had been completely blind-sided by the flu, so to say I was distracted would be an understatement.

Fast-forward to Friday and my friend who was doing my monthly shop made contact stating, ‘the mission has been completed. I need you to deposit $“X” amount into my bank account before I post the goods to you”. ‘No problem’ I thought, I’ll just log into my online banking app on my phone and transfer the money. So I logged in, expecting to see all my money in its glory, but alas, there was UNDER $21 IN MY EVERYDAY BANK ACCOUNT.

*gasp*

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I screamed and just about dropped my phone. BUT HOW. I had not spent a dime during the week, THIS HAD TO BE A MISTAKE. I logged out, and then logged back in hoping to have refreshed the bank’s system – but nope – absolutely NOTHING changed – my balance was still at $20.35.

I could feel myself getting absolutely furious, like if I was white my face would have gone red. Yup, I was that mad. I started looking through my previous week’s transactions. At first, I started off recognizing some of my own transactions that I had made – fuel here, lunch there, grocery shopping in between. Then I was like HANG ON A MINUTE. I saw all these international transactions from Korea – of all places. Someone in Korea had withdrawn ALL MY MONEY.

I know that I may have some subscribers who are probably reading this and thinking “how could this have happened?!!” Well let me explain – Counterfeit or skimming transactions are those made with an altered or illegally reproduced card, based on details taken from an existing card. This includes situations when the information is copied directly from a card’s magnetic stripe.

I felt so violated. In shock, panic and frustration I immediately got on the phone to my bank – who will remain anonymous – I am not trying to catch a case! After almost 45 minutes on hold speaking to about three people in Asia, with phone you American accents – who passed me on to the ‘correct department’, I finally got through.

The person on the other end of the phone was silent as I explained what had happened. Her response after I finished, “that’s fine, these things happen it should take 21 -45 days for us to finish the investigation and for you to get any money back”.

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I just about jumped into the phone when I heard that. It absolutely set me off! I pride myself on being someone who doesn’t let a lot of things set me off – but messing with my money – well that’s one way to get a rise out of me. I work too damn hard for this nonsense. The poor person on the other end of the line was probably wishing they’d never picked up my call because I definitely let them know how I feeling.

Not only was I concerned that the security of my money had been compromised, but I was more disappointed by the person on the other end of the phone representing the bank – they had zero empathy. It’s absolutely absurd that they would repeatedly ask questions like, “have you given your PIN to someone?” Have you given your card to anyone?” Of course, I bloody haven’t!

For a brief moment I thought about adopting the practices of my grandmother in Africa and keeping my money in my bra or under a mattress – but in today’s modern world – I just shouldn’t have to!

Not being happy with the Customer Service Agent that I was speaking to I asked to speak to their manager. They put me through – I spoke to the manager and I don’t whether it’s because he was more experienced in life, or could see where I was coming from, but he was extremely helpful and assured me that my money would be back in my everyday account in 10 – 15 working days. Whilst that outcome was not ideal because I wanted my money there and then, it was definitely better that 21 – 45 working days.

It’s absolutely incredible when you think of it. Most banks in Australia will give you a loan with hyper inflated interest within 24 -48 hours. But to get YOUR OWN MONEY back that was stolen because of a problem with their systems can take 10 -45 days? Unreal.

I am fast approaching day 6 of the “15 business days” until I get my money back period. Currently, I am not logging into my bank account because when I do it just pisses me off. This is an experience that I would not wish on anyone. I am lucky to have savings to tide me over, but not everyone is so fortunate – which is why I am sharing this story. In your everyday life please be aware of warning signs of skimming;

  • Shop assistant or waiter taking your card out of sight to process the payment.
  • You are asked to swipe your card more than once.
  • EFTPOS or ATM machine does not look genuine or looks modified.
  • You notice unauthorised transactions on your account.

If you believe that your card has been skimmed, please notify your bank provider immediately.

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Has this ever happened to you? I am interested in hearing your experiences…

IamTinashe xoxo

Fashion

A Woman In Uniform…

I used to wake up in the morning and nearly have a nervous breakdown whilst getting ready.

Too little time, too many outfit options.

People like my mum would be like, ‘get your outfit ready the night before and the morning will be a breeze’. That statement she would be met with a side-eye glance. That suggestion used to work when I was going to school and had to wear a uniform. These days the outfit I pull to wear the night before can be completely unsuitable the next day.

My mission in life is to be looking fresh to death each and every damn day. One life to live homie! If I don’t feel like I am killing the game then I am not wearing it. Simple as that.

That’s all well and good to say that but with the clock ticking until I need to be in the office it can be a little stressful at times.

The morning game of, “pull a dope outfit together as fast as you can and leave the walk in wardrobe looking like a hurricane hit it” was getting pretty old. Husbae can probably attest to that. With baby girl starting daycare soon – I really need to get my act together otherwise, we would never leave the house or consistently late for work, get a warning and then ultimately get fired – all of a sudden I will be unemployed. I mean, a little drastic I know – and I would never let it get to that but I am just trying to paint a clear picture.

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Who ever said that necessity is the mother of invention was very right. The idea of being unemployed got be really thinking- hard. How can I make things easier whilst at the same time be authentic to my true self? I started researching people who have influenced my style and I notice one thing. Inspirational people like Steve Jobs (turtleneck, jeans and New Balance sneakers), Karl Lagerfield (black and white outfit), Anna Wintour (Oversized shades, statement necklace, crewneck under a power coat) and Barack Obama (grey or blue suits) all seem to have uniforms. It’s almost comforting to see them in their chosen uniforms because that is how you have always seen them and that’s just what you are used to. More importantly, you get to know and see the person for who they are not what they are wearing.

That’s when the idea of wearing a “work uniform” just hit me. As Oprah would call it – a light bulb moment. The lights went on and I was definitely home. I was like, shit – why hadn’t I thought of this earlier? I wanted something that is modern, fresh and reflective of who I am at first glance. Round about this time I was walking around our walk in closet, pacing up and down looking at options. The baby was crawling on the floor following me, wondering what was hell was going on. I stood back to look at my clothes from a different perspective and it became clear that I had a LOT of one thing. African Print! I am not trying to spend money right about now (tighter than Scrooge McDuck) that’s when I said out loud, “What if my work uniform was African print?”. Yes, I talk to myself sometimes. Baby girl looked up at me, gave me a blank stare as if to say, “I don’t know the lady – I’m just here doing baby things”.

That was that. There and then I decided that African print in whatever shape or form that I found in the closet was going to be my work uniform.

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Making that decision is life changing and all that good stuff, but what are the benefits?

Well, my reading leads me to believe that uniform dressing will reduce decision fatigue. What is decision fatigue? In its simplest terms, decision fatigue refers to the idea that people tend to make worse decisions after having made a lot of decisions. Much like muscle fatigue, if you flex your “decision” muscle too much, that one time you really need it, that’s when it will fail you. I am a working mother who jointly runs a household like it’s a damn corporation with Husbae there in the trenches with me – so if I don’t have to think about what I wear during the week, I am all smiles.

I haven’t been shopping that much of late because well Australia’s capital city is not a shopping mecca plus nothing has made me feel like I HAVE TO HAVE THAT. Maybe because I already have most things I have ever wanted. I think choosing a work uniform will mean that I will no longer be a slave to fashion trends because I will deliberately have a signature look.

There is something really freeing about wearing the same thing. You just can’t help but feel like you have established and owned your identity. For now, those are the main things I have observed in the seven almost eight weeks of returning to work and wearing African print.

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My Husbae always teases me about how I love to create and police rules – says I should have been a police officer – so naturally I have some uniform rules for those interested in adopting this method of dressing:

  1. Spend some time in front of the mirror – really looking and understanding your body shape.
  2. Ask yourself questions like, “What shapes, colours suit my body shape?”, “What makes me feel like I am ready to take on the world”, “What are you comfortable wearing?”
    Decide, do you like colour, print, pattern?
  3. Choose classic pieces that will be timeless and stand the test of time.
  4. Quality over quantity – the material and design does matter Don’t settle for nasty cheap fashions, think classic and timeless.
  5. Accessorise your outfit but less is definitely more – don’t decorate yourself like a damn Christmas tree.

In closing whilst for now I am very happy with my decision to wear a ‘work uniform’ I accept the fact that as time goes by I will discover tweaks to be made here and there. The weekend will be even more special now because not only will I be able to spend time with Husbae but it also means that other items in my wardrobe will also get a chance to shine.

I am interested to hear your thoughts, what do you think of this?

Dress – McFashion Trends, Belt – Sheike, Stockings – Myer, Boots – SHY Leather,

IamTinashe xoxo

Mini Me

As Good As It Gets…

The below image always makes me smile. You see a mother looking at her daughter in appreciation of God’s creation whilst the daughter is completely unfazed. It looks like I could literally eat her up. If you are a parent, you know what I am talking about. My heart literally jumps out my chest with joy. Which is funny because she unlocks a different side of me – I often find myself watching her as she sleeps and I give her at least thousand kisses and squishy hugs a day. I didn’t think I would be the type, but I just can’t help myself.

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The truth is I am obsessed with her – I love being her Life Ambassador as she explores the world and learns new things. Naturally, as a lover of fashion and clothes, in general, one of my favourite things to do is to dress up my mini me. I absolutely love it – her? Well, the jury is still out. For now, though she has no choice but to just go with it. I am taking advantage of this time because I know there will come a time when she wants to dress herself or worse still when she thinks that I have no style and my suggestions are horrid. I rebuke that.

On any given Monday to Friday baby girl can be found in “lounge wear’ because it allows her to learn how to walk, crawl about and explore in comfort. Plus I work full time so the weekend is the only time when I can truly make an effort to dress her up.

Our little diva has a wardrobe that I think most adults would be jealous of – dresses, coats, jeans, shoes, boots – you name it, it’s there. I guess she is fortunate to be the first baby in the family so naturally, she is being spoilt rotten. Who doesn’t like to buy baby clothes?

Tasima at her current age doesn’t really understand the fuss, especially when I squeal with delight at the outfit combination I am going to dress her in. Regardless, whatever she wears she owns it – I can’t even pretend to be surprised – after all, she is my daughter!


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Fashion

You’ve Changed…

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As a woman, you always want it all. The career you worked so hard for, family life and friendships that will remain solid for better or for worse.

I am no different.

The responsibilities of being a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend and holding down a demanding full-time job mean that blogging can sometimes fall in the shoulda, coulda, woulda category of life.

Personally, there is nothing worse than having a blogger who blogs infrequently and leaves you wondering. You go on their website daily and there is nothing new. Days, weeks, months pass and still nothing. Can be frustrating as a dedicated reader. For that reason, I think I owe you this much – a clear cut understanding of my blogging schedule.

I thought I had it sorted but I would often find myself renegotiating blogging and editing – time and time again. I have accepted the fact that I can only commit to producing content on this blog at least once a week as a bare minimum. If through the grace of God I am able to pump out more – let’s just say you as the reader have made it through to the bonus round.

The old me (before kids) would have said, “all I hear is excuses”. Part of me agrees but with my demanding schedule I have made the decision to deliver quality blog posts over quantity.

Is this a forever thing? I don’t know, to be honest. I will reassess when the time feels right.

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It was Sunday afternoon and I had finished running all my errands and was lounging just enjoying doing nothing. With the baby taking her afternoon nap these moments seem to come as infrequently as fuel under a dollar. Husbae was on his computer doing his thing and we joked about how if people were to really see what it was to be like parents they would be like, “no thanks I will pass”.

It was in that moment that we randomly decided to take some pictures – to capture the moment. Husbae who I normally have to beg or bribe was like, “yeah let’s do it, grab the camera”. I rushed to reapply my lippy, grabbed a tissue to pat down the makeup shine on my face, put on my shoes and was a the door before Husbae could change his mind.

That’s how we ended up with these images. I wasn’t sure what to do with them at first, but I thought wouldn’t it be nice just to see what a mommy blogger wears when off duty?

When I look at this outfit it probably isn’t one that a fashion blogger would post. Normally ‘they’ or should I say ‘we’ are dressed to the nines, stage the outfit around a dope background and take about fifty photos before we find three or four that we actually like.

I know, trust me I have been here done that.

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Right now I am really enjoying keeping things simple. I have vowed to only start purchasing new items of clothing when the last of the pregnancy kilos have dropped. I am still kind of thick and the bulk of my clothes whilst I can wear them can be a tight squeeze. Five kilos to go until I am back to my pre-baby weight. For now, that means I am rediscovering items in my closet. The bulk of my treasured clothing pieces were banished into suitcases when I was pregnant and just couldn’t fit anything – for good reason, I was growing another life.

With the healthy choices and regular workouts, these clothing pieces are slowly making their way back into my mainstream wardrobe. It is exciting because I am finding new ways to wear my clothes we meet again just like the first time and fall in love once more.

Camouflage Jacket – Topshop, Grey Tshirt – General Pants Co, Jeans – Sportsgirl, Shoes – Bohoo.

Guest Blogger

Guest Blogger: “I Am Who I Am”

For those on Facebook (say I!) you would have been invited to groups created by people who lets say share some similar interests to you. Lord knows I have been invited to groups for weight loss, new mothers, beauty products, fashion etc. When invited I normally just accept the invite give the group a 30 day subscription to my life and bail if it doesn’t interest me. I am what you would call a silent observer not an active participant in the group. There is a difference. I mostly just lurk in the dark corners reading what has been posted and checking out pictures – constantly amazed how much people are willing to share on an online forum.

For those on Facebook (say I!) you would have been invited to groups created by people who lets say share some similar interests to you. Lord knows I have been invited to groups for weight loss, new mothers, beauty products, fashion etc. When invited I normally just accept the invite give the group a 30-day subscription to my life and bail if it doesn’t interest me. I am what you would call a silent observer not an active participant in the group. There is a difference. I mostly just lurk in the dark corners reading what has been posted and checking out pictures – constantly amazed how much people are willing to share on an online forum.

It is in one of these Facebook groups that I came across this month’s guest blogger – Ms Tatelicious Karigambe. Ms Tatelicious posted a picture of herself rocking an outfit, boldly declaring herself Zimbabwe’s first transgender. In Zimbabwe, the idea of transitioning from being a man to a woman is unheard of and considered taboo. I was immediately drawn to her – I had to know more. Not just the superficial bull crap we all talk about on first sight – the real her. I reached out to her. She was so warm – we became instant friends and she has kindly agreed to share her story here.

Bruce Jenner made the transition to becoming a woman but because of his ‘celebrity status,’ I am sure like me you couldn’t help but wonder if Bruce was becoming Caitlyn because it’s who he always was or because of the added fame, fortune and notoriety. Regardless of our own personal opinions, you can almost say it’s a fact that we as humans are always afraid of things they don’t understand. Like me, I think we can all learn a lot from this down to earth and brave woman’s story.

Over to you Ms Tatelicious….

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How would you describe yourself?
Ms Tatelicious Karigambe is a loving person whose blood veins are elongated with fibres of love. My motto to life is spread positive energy to everyone especially the haters because only love can make them understand how diversity makes us stronger. As for my loving friends and family, I created a special monumental place for them in my heart because they care. In brief, I am what the world needs now, breeding a strong dogma to everyone around me and beyond.

When did you know you were transgender?
I first realised I was a transgender at the age of 11 and before that I thought I was just gay.

How did you start to make the changes?
My changes started to occur when my beautiful mother promised to stand with me in my transformation and gender revitalization process.

Do you dress as a female all day every day?
I dress as Tatelicious Karigambe because fashion has grown beyond gender binaries theories. Gone are the days where we used to say pink for girls and blue for boys. I believe people should dress as they wish and like. And beyond the inner parts of my soul I know for certain that I am a woman so my dressing should not be dictated with femininity or masculinity conceptions.

Have you had surgery?
Yes, I had two surgeries i.e the breast augmentation and the vagina reassignment surgery.

How has your family reacted to your decision?
Mixed reactions and emotions were evoked when I decide to live my authentic life. I really was overwhelmed with the love I was given by my beautiful mother and my ever loving two sisters. Generally, 95% of my maternal and paternal family members still hate me with a passion but what keeps me going is the love I have for them and I know one day they are going to ask me what is really happening with the new me then we discuss and reach to a closure of everything. The family is important and I still hope that everything is going to be fine.

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What of your friends, how did they react?
I was left with no friends because they claimed that I was satanic and a product of shame in their circle. My online friends have become my new hope of acquaintances and I really cherish and honour them because they came in the right moment when I needed company and warmth. Above all the Universe smiled deeply at me and it blessed me with two remarkable sweet passionate friends my husband and my daughter. These two rock my world and believe me I will trade nothing to replace them.

What your favourite thing about being a transgender?
My favourite thing being a Transgender is living my truthful life as Ms Tatelicious Karigambe. If I die today I know that I never lived a lie and also my voice has become a light to everyone who has been judged, discriminated, persecuted, tortured or abused in trying to be their true selves.

What is the worst thing about being a transgender?
To lose everything and start again from scratch. I miss my home country Zimbabwe where I was I forced to exodus because I almost died being me and trying to just live a truthful life.

I applaud you for being so brave true to yourself. In your own words, what is it like to be a transgender African?
Thank you for the sweet applaud. Being an African transgender woman is beautiful and exciting. Almost everyone in Africa thinks that the issues of transgenders are ‘white people’ concepts which are ridiculous. Being transgender is a reality to all human beings despite which continent their roots comes from. It’s my duty to spread the issues of transgender lives in Africa. There are some Transgender Queens and Kings who came before me and died because of this issue I feel it’s important for me to pass the knowledge and confidence that I have to the next generation, thus honouring their sweet souls resting in eternal peace. I also personally applaud the transgenders in Africa who are spreading an insight of what and who we really are. In a nutshell, we are just human and we need respect and acceptance.

What advice do you have for other Africans that are afraid to be their true transgender self? They must stay strong and be ready to let go of the negativity which almost everyone will impose on them. It’s not easy this I know but they should not live a life of regrets. They should be brave enough to give birth to their new selves and focus on the reality of their principles to life. They should also know that Ms Tatelicious Karigambe loves them so much and they can write to me and we can talk more and link each other to our allies of the LGBTIQ Family.

Finally, what do you want the world to know about you?
I want the world to know that Ms Tatelicious Karigambe is the fruitful product of Heroes and Heroines which came before me .I am very much obliged not to let them down that’s why I am happy to be an Ambassador of the Transgender Community in Africa. I am talking about the Remarkable Mbuya Nehanda and Sekuru Kaguvi,Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jnr,Mother Theresa, Mahatma Gandhi and living Inspiring comrades of our time Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres, Laverne Cox and the sweet beautiful Janet Mock. I too want my name to be written in books of history that I was able to foster a sweet loving gender revolution change in Africa.

Ms Tatelicious if you were here I would give you a big hug to thank you for the knowledge that you have transferred. I think in reading this we have all learnt something. We wish you all the best now and in the near future.

IamTinashe xo